Michigan Legislature Passes Prescription Drug and Diabetes Bills
The Michigan Legislature on Dec. 13 passed a bill that would create a state elder prescription insurance program (EPIC) available to seniors ages 65 and older who are not enrolled in Medicaid, but who meet the income requirements for prescription drug assistance, the Ann Arbor News reports. EPIC, which is slated to begin on Oct. 1, would replace the state's two current prescription drug assistance plans -- the Michigan Emergency Pharmaceutical Program for Seniors and a prescription drug tax credit program. State lawmakers have included a provision to repeal the current tax credit on Dec. 31 of the year EPIC is implemented, rather than a specified date, to ensure continued coverage for seniors in the event EPIC is not fully operational by 2001. The EPIC program would give first priority to seniors currently participating in the emergency prescription program, then enroll applicants earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level; eligibility would be increased to 200% of the FPL, provided enough funding was available. Eligible seniors would pay a $25 application fee, a "small" co-payment for prescriptions and a monthly deductible based on their incomes. State Rep. Mary Ann Middaugh (R), who sponsored the EPIC legislation, estimates that at least 35,000 Michigan seniors would qualify for the program. The Legislature also approved two diabetes bills requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of medical supplies, such as syringes and test strips. The bills now head to Gov. John Engler (R) for his signature (AP/Ann Arbor News, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.